All posts in “After Care Projects”

Online Trafficking Syndicate Brought Down

By Julia Randall

World Cup 328365 by Gabriela PintoWhen “Nam” responded to a Facebook post advertising employment, she thought that she would be leaving Thailand to work at a Kuala Lumpur restaurant and club.  Upon her arrival in the foreign city, Nam (name changed to protect her identity) discovered she had been lied to. The “restaurant/club” was a disguised brothel. She was now trapped in the brothel’s apartment, where she was held against her will and forced into sex work.  Nam was not alone in her plight—several other women were caught with her after being similarly tricked.  But Nam showed great courage and found a way to get the help she needed to escape and help secure the freedom of other women who had been deceived—six women were freed in the initial rescue.

A trafficking network that used Facebook and other social media to lure, trick and trap victims into sex slavery was broken up by Thailand’s Department of Special Investigations (DSI) in July 2015. DSI arrested three men for human trafficking.  The Exodus Road collaborated with our partners at Freeland with The Liberty Alliance to assist the DSI by providing information and analysis during the investigative phase and provided aftercare to the several of the freed survivors.

The leader, a Malaysian known as “Boss Steven,” used employment advertisements for club and restaurant jobs to Thai and Vietnamese women, enticing them to travel to Kuala Lumpur with promises of perks and bonuses.  Once the women arrived, they were held captive and forced into sex work.

Khao San Road at night by shankar s.Despite the threat of recrimination, Nam resourcefully found a way to ask for help via an online chat channel.  Nam’s message was eventually received by the trafficking hotline at Freeland, who analyzed the information for authenticity before giving it to Thai authorities, who then conducted a remarkable undercover investigation.

Nam eventually found a chance to sneak out of the brothel compound and find her way to the Thai Embassy in Kuala Lumpur. Concern for Nam’s safety led the DSI to swiftly repatriate her to Thailand, where Freeland and TER sponsored her care while the DSI continued to gather evidence against “Boss Steven” and two of his cohorts.

Nam continued to demonstrate great strength and courage when she faced down fear of retaliation from her traffickers and an arduous process of testimony by continuing to provide information to the DSI.  Nam’s information was not only key in securing the arrest of “Boss Steven” and his partners, but also in freeing other victims.  The Exodus Road is honored to know Nam and to have been able to provide aftercare for her and several other survivors, along with follow-up support and some services.

Because of your generosity and with a shared grant from One Day’s Wages for aftercare services, The Exodus Road was able to sponsor a debt repayment for one of the survivors and pay for medical services for another. We are also in the process of funding the educational fees for several survivors’ children and a motorbike that a survivor will use to launch her business.

We continue to see that fighting trafficking within the legal system is a long, arduous process and that providing services for survivors, especially those who are of age, is equally as difficult. Thankfully, though, we were able to serve as a light along the pathway to freedom for Nam and her friends.

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You can know more about aftercare efforts by visiting the FAQ page:  FAQ page

The Child Witness Room

Caring for young survivors of trafficking and exploitation is critical. It’s a vital part of not only building successful cases against their traffickers and abusers, but also shows value and care for them as individuals. We’re pleased to announce we were able to practically support local police efforts to do just that.

Police departments of various regions in Thailand came together to request grant assistance from The Exodus Road to make improvements on the Child Witness Room. Thanks to a donation from One Day’s Wages and the support for after care services given by our own community, we were able to help.

We granted 100,000 Thai baht (about $2,857  USD) this month to the Hot Sub-District Police Station via the Chiang Mai Police Station. The funds will primarily be used to furnish the room with equipment and to replace previous recording devices with high quality ones.

The police have great hopes for the use of this room. They desire:

  • To protect the rights of children and youth according to the law.
  • To have a safe witness room for the children who are victims in all eight police stations in the surrounding areas.
  • To reduce the fear, shame, and stress of the children when they are answering questions.

The room will be a safe, effective place for minors to tell their stories to social workers and the authorities.

The relationships between government officials and aid organizations are strengthened when cooperative efforts are focused on caring for victims. And this project is a sustainable picture of that very type of collaboration.

  • Amm Chutima, Exodus Road Country Director pictured at the far right

    The court process can add to the stress of a child victim. However, ensuring they are adequately prepared as a witness can reduce their anxiety and enable them to better participate in court proceedings. Giving this grant to help improve the room will deeply benefit them.

    Amm Chutima, Exodus Road Country Director pictured at the far right

The officials pictured left to right and their positions are as follows:

  1. Lt. Col. Jareewan Puttanurak, Specialist Inquiry Officer Children Women Family Protection and Anti-Human Trafficking Center, Chiang Mai Provincial Police
  2. Col. Teerapol Intaralip, Deputy Commander Chiang Mai Provincial Police in charge of Department of Children Women Family Protection and Anti-Human Trafficking Center
  3. Police Major General Montree Sumboonnanon, Commander of Chiang Mai Provincial Police

Also pictured: Jim* The Exodus Road Regional Director, and Amm Chutima, The Exodus Road Country Director.

The Exodus Road team celebrates the local police for their commitment to a safe, child-friendly place where survivors can freely share their stories, and we’re grateful to have played a small role in helping to outfit it.

Read more stories about survivors here:

You can know more about aftercare efforts by visiting the FAQ page:  FAQ page